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Behind Dillard’s late surge and a look ahead

Monday, Mar 24, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

It didn’t take long for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner to drop the word “unions” from his vocabulary.

After bashing public employee union leaders for months as corrupt bosses who buy votes in order to control Springfield, Rauner and his campaign have assiduously avoided the use of the “U-word” since his victory last Tuesday. Instead, he’s switched to a line about how “our government is run by lobbyists, for special interests, and the career politicians in both parties let it happen.”

Rauner’s campaign manager said on primary night that his boss is “pro-union.” Rauner himself insisted last week that he’s not anti-union and never has been.

The candidate’s record clearly shows otherwise however. Rauner kicked off his campaign with a widely published newspaper op-ed in which he called for legislation to allow individual counties to approve their own so-called “right to work” laws. Rauner has also repeatedly demanded that Illinois follow the lead of states like Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin, which have all passed anti-union laws.

And Rauner’s only personal and extended interaction he’s had with an Illinois labor leader went horribly wrong. Rauner reportedly marched into the office of the president of Operating Engineers Local 150 late last year to pledge to the president that if he was with Rauner, then the candidate would go all the way with him, but warned that if the president was against Rauner, the candidate would essentially work to destroy him once elected. That message didn’t exactly go over too well.

Weeks ago, some folks in the higher echelons of Rauner’s campaign assured me that their candidate believed there was an opening with unions and he would try to exploit it. But that was when Rauner enjoyed a double-digit lead in the polls.

I think the expectation at the time was that at least some unions would consider a rapprochement with Rauner if he won the primary big. Better to cut a deal with an almost surefire winner than be crushed after he became governor.

But Rauner didn’t win big. His 2.8 percent winning margin fell infinitely short of almost all expectations. And that’s mainly because the unions appeared to have convinced lots of their Republican members to vote for Sen. Kirk Dillard and persuaded lots of non-Republicans to take GOP ballots.

If you look at Sangamon County, the home of the Illinois capital and lots of state workers, you’ll see stark and convincing evidence of just how effective the union push was.

In 2010 and in 2006, total Republican gubernatorial votes cast in the county were very similar, averaging just under 16.000.

This year, the county’s turnout was abysmal, with under 20 percent of registered voters participating overall. But Republican votes for governor shot way up to almost 25,000. Sen. Dillard, the union favorite, won Sangamon with about 15,000 votes, almost equal to the total GOP turnout in the previous two primaries.

Democratic votes for governor in 2010 and 2006 were both 34 percent of the total gubernatorial votes cast in Sangamon County. This year, that number fell to just 15 percent, with Republican percentages rising from 66 percent in the two previous primaries to a whopping 85 percent this year. Some of that can be attributed to the lack of interest by all Democrats everywhere due to a dearth of contested races, but most of it was related to the unions’ strong GOP ballot push.

These numbers can’t be extrapolated statewide because AFSCME is so influential in Sangamon, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that something unprecedented happened in Illinois on Tuesday. The polls and prognosticators were wrong because tens of thousands of union members and their loved ones took GOP ballots for the first time. Changing the landscape of a party primary is almost impossible, but the unions did just that.

And because they almost beat Rauner I doubt that few if any unions will be at all interested in cutting a deal with him. There could be an odd straggler that Rauner can parade as “proof” that he’s not anti-union. But the overwhelming attitude will be “We almost beat him once, so we’ll just ramp it up in the fall.”

The question then becomes how long it will take the public employee unions to forgive Quinn, who pushed hard to cut their members’ pension benefits. They simply don’t trust the man, and they truly wanted to nominate an alternative last week.

And the danger for Quinn is that the public employee unions do what they did in the primary with Dillard - wait too long to finally make a decision.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


84 Comments
  1. - Stones - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:23 am:

    My sense is that the rank and file will hold their noses and vote Quinn rather than to sit the election out. I think it could get interesting if the Supremes strike down pension reform and the Governor and Legislature have to go back to the drawing board. Is there any chance of this happening before the general election in November? I sincerely doubt it.


  2. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    Survival trumps comfort level. Rauner is trustworthy like cyanide. Every union can be confident that trusting him will lead to their eventual destruction. Quinn made the public employee unions sick, but they can get over it, more or less, between now and November, and they will. The trade unions will talk to them about it.


  3. - In the Middle - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    “The candidate’s record clearly shows otherwise however.”

    Greatly appreciate you pointing out Rauner’s flip on unions.

    Rauner has no political record that we can judge him by… just words, and he’ll say anything to get elected.


  4. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    Thanks for another great article, Rich.

    Rauner already made his bed with the unions. His anti-union comments are strewn everywhere. He spent lots of time and money attacking them. He used them as a punching bag to get the primary nomination. It will be very hard if not impossible for unions to trust him.

    What will be interesting to see is how Rauner navigates the strong anti-union sentiment among his supporers and donors along with the union backlash in the primary election.

    As far as Quinn and the unions, he should start to repair the bridges. He can begin this journey by pledging to support collective bargaining, or if he already did that, he can reinforce his pledge. One good thing he has going is that he supports a minimum wage increase. If the millionaire surcharge makes it on the ballot, that would be another opportunity for Quinn to gain support if he backs the policy.


  5. - Reformed Public Servant - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    The magnetic poles shifted there for only a brief moment, and once again the IL Repubs missed their chance. IL Repubs seem born to lose and destined to fail…Dems solidify power over IL once again.


  6. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    The question then becomes how long it will take the public employee unions to forgive Quinn, who pushed hard to cut their members’ pension benefits. They simply don’t trust the man, and they truly wanted to nominate an alternative last week.

    Quinn has an opening. However, he has a lot of crow to eat first. Rauner seems to have gotten the message - but Quinn had the message too then used the unions to win, and then abuse when it suited him to do so. The choice is between a guy who feels he can be honestly anti-union to win an election, and a guy who feels he can’t be.

    Both parties have been abusing public servants in order to avoid being politically punished. As our politicians fail to resolve our state’s fiscal crisis - they throw the public union under the bus and use public servants as an excuse for Illinois’ crisis.

    Most public servants work just as well with either political parties, after all, the GOP held the Mansion for decades. AFSCME funds politics on both sides. However, the first Democratic governor since Walker - Rod Blagojevich - declared war on public servants publically in both Chicago and Springfield during his first months in office. Blagojevich was nobody’s friend and he abused the unions because it suited him politically.

    Quinn has done the same thing. As our state politicians fail us, they shove AFSCME and SEIU in front of them to take the blame for their failures. This has become completely disgusting.

    It is time for both parties to stop bashing the people who have completely demonstrated their bipartisanship through their service in Illinois government under both Democrat and Republican governors. It is high time for both parties to begin addressing the fiscal problems they have created in Illinois without bashing the people who do the public’s work. Clearly, Illinois will still be a basket case fiscally with, or without sacrificing the promises made to the public unions and the people they represent.

    Quinn has proven to be untrustworthy. I cannot support either candidates as long as they continue to abuse those who do the state’s work as the reason Illinois is a mess. A pox on both of them for their political lies and untruths.


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    Rauner can’t unring the bell with public employees. It’s the one area where he has a track record.

    If public employees can’t figure that out, they’ll get what they deserve.


  8. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    Perhaps it’s time for Rauner to go “Scott Walker” and articulate principles of a “Worker Freedom Act”. Give workers a legal right to refuse joining a union, and outlaw discrimination against those who do as well as making it illegal to force union membership as a condition of employment. Change the Illinois Labor Relation’s Act to remove the “sole bargaining agent” requirement so that workers dissatisafied with their union representation can either negotiate on their own behalf as most professionals do, or set up their own association separate from the nationals. If a group of teachers choose to set up their own association to negotiate separately (young, non-tenured teachers who generally get thrown under the bus in union negotiations by senior faculty are a case in point), let them bargain for their specific group’s interest.

    While they’re at it, they should provide a limit on public employee’s “right” to strike. If a district is paying above state average compensation for salary and benefits, or is providing over 65% of the non-construction/safety budget for salaries and benefits, strikes should be illegal.

    We should also prohibit unions from punishing union members for working for less than scale if the union hasn’t gotten them at least 6 months of work in the previous 12 months.

    My guess is that 30-40% of union members would support this (especially younger teachers in schools and long term unemployed construction workers) and a smart campaigner could show that protecting the “right” for teachers to walk out on their students due to irrational greed is pro family, student and taxpayer.

    The reason for public education costs rising at about double the cost of inflation per student over the last decade or so is local schools approving excessive contracts. Those choosing to increase salaries and benefits to more than 20% above state average should lose state aid, even flat grants, and the funds could be given to more frugal, responsible districts. But that’s a discussion for another post….


  9. - Downstater - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    Wonder how the public employee unions will feel, when Rahm goes to the state asking for help with the Chicago pension mess. Either the state legislature and Quinn help or Rahm has to convince the city residents to accept a huge property tax increase to bail out pension mess.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Gotta finish.

    The Rauner takeaway for that Crew is that by not understanding Illinois is NOT Wisconsin, and not understanding motivated Union base can sway an election, and NOT understanding that lacking a real, true GOTV, and relying on Polling and Commercials and uncontrolled voting leads to a weak position after a victory.

    Rauner must embrace the GOP, not less than 30 hours pivot so left that touting Democratic support trumps GOP solidification. Rauner must build an apparatus of a true Field Organization, because this could be a Brady 2010 redux. Rauner must get focused on Fiscal, but back away from class warfare fiscal.

    Lots of tape, commercials, video of “Bruce Rauner” going “all-in” against Unions and Career Politicians. Parsing words of “Union Bosses” to “Public Unions Only” just looks, again, that polling and political weakness of “Point” is moving the pivot, not honest reassessment.

    If I were the Rauner Crew;

    Make very strong overtones that the GOP is very important to him. It’s like Bill Brady reversed; base solid, moderates skeptical, now it’s Base skeptical and moderates confused so far. Rauner’s Crew has the cash, build a Field Operation, with the purpose to find “Pluses”, and vote them, controlled, to offset the Union wave of 5+ points that polling won’t show the closing of Quinn’s voters at the end.

    Finally, if you are going to be the Blago of the GOP, the start the commercials and define Quinn before the “Oberweis/Rauner” prism takes ahold of a narrative that the Rauner Crew can’t shake.

    Money is no object. The objectives and goals are very clear, crystal, in fact. If it comes down to class warfare, in Illinois, the movie has been seen, change or no change sentiment. Get it done outside the TV. Make the narrative work for Rauner without class warfare, and build a true GOTV, which must include the GOP. If the Rauner Crew completely alienates the GOP in the lunge “left”, Rauner may be left… with a losing cake baked.


  11. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    Bob, your rant is a bit much for Monday morning. Enjoy the AZ weather, why dontcha?

    Good column, Rich. Chip and the Rauner Crew have their work cut out for them.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    ===Perhaps it’s time for Rauner to go “Scott Walker”…===

    There were 58% of those voting on the GOP primary ghat chose anyone but Rauner.

    Illinois is not Wisconsin. Your idea on going on “Walker” playbook would be embraced by Quinn. It’s a loser stance in Illinois. Please learn.

    ===Rauner can’t unring the bell with public employees. It’s the one area where he has a track record.===

    That’s right - wordslinger -, “Exactly right!”


  13. - Pensioner - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Better the enemy you know. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Two appropriate axioms. I for the first time in my life drew a repub ballot, and I will hold my nose and vote for Quinn.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    ***Perhaps it’s time for Rauner to go “Scott Walker” and articulate principles of a “Worker Freedom Act”.***

    Isn’t this the very thing that almost cost Rauner the election? These ideas seem to be exactly the kind of stuff to bring out union voters to not support Quinn but cast a resounding vote against Rauner.


  15. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    - Arizona Bob - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    Based on my experiences with the state, the state can’t deal with individual contract negotiations or merit based pay. I would have loved to have worked strictly on commission for 10% of hard documented savings. Heck, state management went nuts the couple of years they tried to actually implement true merit pay for the SPSA class … they panicked and castrated the program after the second year, basically making it a clone of the union step plan.


  16. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    very good summation


  17. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Downstater, the devil is in the details, but the “millionaire tax” would go a long way toward getting “Chicago” collectively enough dough to make that pension payment.

    I’m sure the Speaker didn’t have that in mind when he made the proposal.


  18. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    - Downstater - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    Rahm has already signaled that move … but Madigan’s proposal with equal distribution may kill it.


  19. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    I won’t be voting for him but Rauner might be able to sneak in a victory. I was talking with a retired friend the other night and extremely surprised he plans to vote for Rauner against his own self-interest (he’s a state retiree). Part of that factor is the disgust with Quinn continuing the D’s business as usual and not cleaning the Blago house.


  20. - Downstater - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    =There were 58% of those voting on the GOP primary ghat chose anyone but Rauner.=
    Based on Rich’s post, we know a large number of democrats crossed over and voted for Dillard. These are not and never would be Rauner voters. To imply 58% of Republican primary voters voted against Rauner is misleading. Rauner is pivoting, as most good politicians do, after the primary. His multiple millions of dollars will serve him well in the general election. I like his strategy of reaching out to Dems and independents. Smart move. Makes him look more centrist and less divisive.


  21. - ZC - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    One very under-discussed feature of Citizens United is that it not only allows corporations to use their treasury money to spend unlimited amounts on ads. It also permits labor unions nationwide to use their dues money to spend unlimited amounts on grassroots persuasion targeted at non-union members. Before CU, if a union spent dues money to try and persuade non members to support a Democrat, that was considered an in kind campaign contribution. Now it’s constitutionally protected free speech just like the corporate-funded ads.

    We may find out more next November which feature of CU is a better benefit.


  22. - Pensioner - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    ===Makes him look more centrist and less divisive.===

    It’s much easier to let the cat out of the bag than to get him back in.~ Mark Twain


  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    - Downstater -,

    Read exactly what I Post, exactly as I Post it;

    =There were 58% of those voting on the GOP primary ghat chose anyone but Rauner.=

    Those crossovers made it clear they are not voting for Rauner. Further, they won’t vote for Rauner, quite possibly, in the General. The raw ballots of those voting, raw ballots, that will cross back over and not vote for Rauner again, is a real number Rauner’s Crew must now come to grips with, as they also must figure out the depth and strength of the GOP support to maximize a GOP voter base to move with a “left” lurch.

    58% of the voters voting in the GOP Primary voted against Rauner. The raw ballots, not the GOP Affiliation is my premise. Understand the sentence.


  24. - MrJM - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    Great article, Rich.

    I humbly offer a single addendum: “And the danger for Quinn and the public employee unions is that the public employee unions do what they did in the primary with Dillard - wait too long to finally make a decision.”

    – MrJM


  25. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    I think this thesis is very solid. My only dissenting thought might be that the union membership and leaders might be better advised to forge a partnership wherever the opportunity exists with both sides. It’s hardly news that much of their tendency will lean Democratic. On a perfect election day weather-wise, with a near unanimous response to their plea to union employees to cross over, they still came up nearly 3% short statewide. Someone will do an analysis that separates out those numbers that will show without that effort, the polls were on target. Rauner showed strength. The unions showed strength. Now it’s a matter of sitting down and making some accommodations for both sides. I don’t think that the unions would be wise to say “we almost beat him once in a very heated primary where all the stars lined up” and conclude they could repeat and improve on that showing. I also think Rauner understands that there’s some “giddy up” among these folks that could make things demonstrably more difficult. Time for both sides to chat with a greater understanding of what things look like on the battlefield. I’d be hedging my bets either way. The chess game is now underway.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    ===Rauner is pivoting, as most good politicians do, after the primary. His multiple millions of dollars will serve him well in the general election. I like his strategy of reaching out to Dems and independents. Smart move. Makes him look more centrist and less divisive.===

    Has the Rauner Crew secured, or given the appearance of securing a GOP base? Nope. Rauner rolled out his wife and “Dem Friends” as his introduction after the GOP Unity Brunch.

    Was Mrs. Rauner wavering on supporting her husband or Pat Quinn? Rev. Meeks on a fence in the race?

    Timing. It’s everything and sends an impression.

    Bruce Rauner, Republican Nominee, is securing his Raunerite Base, and the GOP better get on board, or get steamrolled, even though 58% of voters taking ballots, seems to reject him, so, Raunerites need to solidify, not the GOP reaching towards the middle.

    That us the impression, that very well be the play by the Rauner Crew; they got to the Finals, survive and advance, build Raunerites, not a GOP winning cake, a Raunerite cake.


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    RNUG, I don’t think it’s quantifiable and it’s probably a Springfield area mindset, but I know several folks like your friend. For them, it’s “ABQ-Anybody but Quinn” and Rauner is now their guy.


  28. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Once again the Republicans voted for the one person that PQ might be able to beat. I will never understand why they did not nominate Kirk Dillard. Dillard would have drawn union support and and given all those Dems a place to go who are sick of PQ. He would have won downstate and held his own around Chicago. Always better to get 2/3 of a loaf then none at all. KD would have very almost certainly beat PQ. You know more will come out about BR and his history as the race ramps up. There is so much unknown about him.. KD is well known and not much to surprise anyone there. If the unions would have supported KD earlier, like so many wanted, I beleive he would havre won.


  29. - Chris - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    “our government is run by lobbyists, for special interests”

    So, he’s dropped the U-word in favor of the I-word?

    A man who made his money by investing pension $$, and benefiting from the (yes, federal) special tax treatment of carried interest, is complaining about government “for special interests”.

    Ironic, indeed.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    === On a perfect election day weather-wise, with a near unanimous response to their plea to union employees to cross over, they still came up nearly 3% short statewide.===

    Yep. In less than 20 days, no real coordination with a candidate or a campaign, including a Field Operation, the Unions should sit down and strike a deal because Rauner, a Fieldless GOTV Rauner Crew showed.., strength?

    Yikes!

    That is wishful thinking. The Unions, bashed and ridiculed by Rauner, and Rauner stating a willingness to possibly shutdown state government should be someone to make a deal with?

    Can’t unring a bell. Now a bell is ringing to rally against Rauner, with time as an ally thus far, and negatives will be building for Rauner with Union workers.

    Unions have a better shot working against Rauner, and working with the GA Dems then working with Rauner. That us real.


  31. - shore - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    Money can buy tv ads, can demonstrate “strength” to political journalists who are obsessed with it, and it can show opponents that you have teeth. What it can’t buy as your well reported piece shows, are political chops in navigating endorsements/backroom deals and campaign decision making.


  32. - Sunshine - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    Arizona Bob Great points! VM Good overview!


  33. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Paging -Norseman- Time to throw the Oswego Willy for Gov campaign into high gear!


  34. - Walker - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Rauner sold himself to the national big funders (Koch Brothers and their multiple affiliates) as strongly anti-union, promising to go “Scott Walker” in Illinois.

    Rauner sold himself to the big local GOP funders as a “Business Leader” bringing those skills to government.

    Within 24 hours of winning the primary, he switched to “likes unions” (except government ones), and became a “Community Leader.”

    His campaign will be fun to watch. Blatant reframing and misdirection at every turn, but probably effective.

    I wonder if there will be any buyers’ remorse, since he just told his major funders “I’m not really what you bought.”

    More likely their attitude is “when you’re with us in our private club, we expect the clear truth from you; you can tell those ‘others’ whatever it takes to win.”

    Did Mitt really believe that 47% of Americans were “takers”, or was that just chuckles for bucks?

    Same question for Bruce.


  35. - Tough Guy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Worked as an election judge in a downstate county near Springfield that generally has a big Democratic turnout in the primary. Could not believe the number of voters who voluntarily “apologized”, for lack of a better term, for taking an R ballot for the first time. Some wanted to vote for Davis but most commented they were voting against Rauner. As an election judge I tried to keep their comments to a minimum but some felt they had to give an unsolicited statement.


  36. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Regarding Dillard’s surge, it says something about a candidate who lurched so far right as to embrace the Illinois Family Institute’s anti-gay leadership and agenda, only to rely on unions and Democratic cross-over voters to make it a close race. And what is says is not good.

    Begging for votes from Democrats to win the Republican primary? How pathetic is that?


  37. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    - 47th Ward -,

    Truth be told; the 1990s Dillard would have destroyed the 2014 Dillard on issues, coalitions, leadership, message.

    Funny how losing by less than 200 votes skews reality from insanity.


  38. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    =***Perhaps it’s time for Rauner to go “Scott Walker” and articulate principles of a “Worker Freedom Act”.***

    Isn’t this the very thing that almost cost Rauner the election? These ideas seem to be exactly the kind of stuff to bring out union voters to not support Quinn but cast a resounding vote against Rauner.=
    Grandson, the only way this hurt Rauner was to wake up the unions. the GOP base isn’t all that pro public union.

    I know a lot of teachers union and public retiree Republicans in the burbs. Many working teachers, I’d say 20-30%, aren’t union fans. Promise to free them of that burden and they’ll vote for you.

    Retirees and their families just want to be protected from the upcoming disaster come up with a plan so that they don’t have to worry about having a rug pulled out from under them and they’ll vote for you. Quinn has no plan to protect them, and they don’t trust him.

    Obama was elected not on accomplishment, but on divisiveness and envy. That works especially well in Illinois. IMHO, Rauner has to campaign to attract the 40-50% of people who pay the freight in Illinois, then divide the recalcitrant union members and those out of work by appealing that the “right to work” in Illinois would bring them opportunity, work, and fairness.

    There’s a strong track record of success for that sort of policy change.

    what I really expect he’ll do is try to reach rank and file union members who aren’t Hoffa like zealots who know change needs to be made.

    I’m expecting Rauner to use “gentle persuasion” on these folks to get them on his side.


  39. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    I know Willy. He will forever be haunted by 193 votes in 2010.

    I miss 1990s Dillard.


  40. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Had Dillard won, there’s no way I’d vote for him in November–and I was one of those people who pulled an R ballot and voted for him last week. He went way too far to the right for my taste, it’s just Rauner is even scarier.


  41. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Why was there so much surprise about the unions coordinating such a large crossover vote? Conditions for such a development were almost perfect. Apart from some minor offices that were far down the ballot, there were no contests to keep the Democrat voters committed to requesting a Democratic primary ballot. Who goes to the polls with the goal of voting for Water Reclamation District or judicial subcircuit candidates?


  42. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    OW. While 58% voted for anyone but Rauner (which I don’t agree with since Rutherford’s supporters went down with the ship with their guy and Brady’s stayed very loyal to him- neither voted for anyone but Rauner, but voted FOR their guys) according to your version of the math 61% voted for anyone but Dillard. Just as preposterous as what you may be selling here. Much of Kirk’s support came from off the grid. Don’t underestimate how much “steeling of the electorate” could go on among the non-union side. If the UAW or another group walk in an area, they could often do as much harm as good. Just as radical “anti-union” people could do. November is a long way away politically. This race will probably evolve into something different than a union vs. non-union battle by then. My guess is that it will. The last thing anyone should be trying to frame this as is State Employees vs. Citizens. That kind of battle will be over before it begins. Generals are way different than primaries. All the voters who are sick of the mailers will comprise a much smaller group. Rauner already has a huge leg up with the Non primary voters because of his prime time media. My take as I sit here typing right this moment is that this election will come down to being a referendum on Pat Quinn. That’s how I’d play it. The bases are the bases, they’ll be predictable. 40% in the middle are going to decide if Quinn is the answer. Just my opinion, but an informed one.


  43. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    AA I’m on it. The only real choice is Oswego Willy.


  44. - Frenchie Mendoza - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    I won’t — and would never — vote for Rauner, but it strikes me as odd — very odd, actually — that immediately after his victory he stages a weird “democrat and independent” press conference.

    Isn’t this the time to embrace the GOP base? Embrace Oberweiss. Embrace GOP values. Embrace everything the GOP stands for.

    There’s a lot of time to roll out the .01% democrats and forge those kinds of coalitions.

    Maybe Rauner is figuring he’ll just steer clear of all the GOP until after a long-shot victory. And then … what? Good luck with that. I don’t get it. Unions will hate him, the broader GOP base won’t trust him, and you’ll have a bunch of rich guys — GOP and Dems — running around salivating for a piece of state business so they, too, can get rich like their BFF Bruce.

    Maybe I’m cynical, but essentially Rauner is hoping to get a win to (a) bust the unions to that ( b) he and his buddies can get rich from state business.

    If Rauner wins, his first month will be like all the Blago years compressed into 30 chaotic days.


  45. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    ===…according to your version of the math 61% voted for anyone but Dillard…===

    Dillard lost, is not the Nominee. Please learn.

    ===Much of Kirk’s support came from off the grid. Don’t underestimate how much “steeling of the electorate” could go on among the non-union side. ===

    The same voters, and raw votes, are going to vote against Rauner…”Again, and again, and again..,”, so making the point of weakness is very valid come General Election time.

    ===This race will probably evolve into something different than a union vs. non-union battle by then. My guess is that it will.===

    lol, maybe to you but not to the Unions; see the savy Local 150 Rauner fiasco. You are blinded by the Carhartt and watch still.

    ===The last thing anyone should be trying to frame this as is State Employees vs. Citizens. That kind of battle will be over before it begins===

    “The last thing Raunerites should be trying to frame this as is State Employees vs. Citizens. That kind of battle will be over before it begins for Raunerites.”

    Better.

    === Rauner already has a huge leg up with the Non primary voters because of his prime time media…===

    This ain’t the “3″, Bruce is going to face commercials too this time; for a long time. Negatives will rise..,

    ===All the voters who are sick of the mailers will comprise a much smaller group.===

    Based on? lol

    ===My take as I sit here typing right this moment is that this election will come down to being a referendum on Pat Quinn. That’s how I’d play it. The bases are the bases, they’ll be predictable. 40% in the middle are going to decide if Quinn is the answer. Just my opinion, but an informed one.===

    Yep, agree, and the Dems are going to make it about “Oberweis/Rauner”, “.01%”, Unions, class warfare, and phonies.

    That kool-aid still fresh?


  46. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Rauner’s best hope is having organized labor stay away from the polls in November (so the quick spin away from the anti-union message) and he doesn’t much care about the far right showing up, either.

    If Democrats abandon Quinn and socially conservative Republicans stay home, Rauner can pick up a winning margin from independents and moderates sick of our current situation. Is this a winning strategy? Depends on whether he can sell himself as something besides campaign slogans.


  47. - Walter Mitty - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Unring the bell? As for the teachers rank and file may be different in the general. Many folks that are in tier 2 are young. They don’t realize they pay the same as tier 1 employees but don’t get near the benefit. Furthermore, if the “fix”is found unconstitutional, do you think an ammendment on the ballot would not pass? Simple math say’s thousands and thousands of teachers will not be funded.. I think nothing is a given in this environment…


  48. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    ===I know a lot of teachers union and public retiree Republicans in the burbs. Many working teachers, I’d say 20-30%, aren’t union fans. Promise to free them of that burden and they’ll vote for you.===

    Based on what?

    ===IMHO, Rauner has to campaign to attract the 40-50% of people who pay the freight in Illinois, then divide the recalcitrant union members and those out of work by appealing that the “right to work” in Illinois would bring them opportunity, work, and fairness.===

    lol!! So that leaves 51-60% of the alienated electorate willing to vote against Rauner! Stay out if the sun in AZ, please.

    Ok, you sure about all THIS?

    ===There’s a strong track record of success for that sort of policy change.===

    In Illinois? Where the election is, and the voters who look at this are going to decide?

    ===what I really expect he’ll do is try to reach rank and file union members who aren’t Hoffa like zealots who know change needs to be made.===

    Based on Rauner’s rhetoric and the Primary crossovers and the lunge embracing “union members” you are really just using Cable News “wish points”

    ===I’m expecting Rauner to use “gentle persuasion” on these folks to get them on his side.===

    Local 150 jumped when Rauner was persuaded…”Friendly-like”

    Yikes - Arizona Bob -, … just Yikes.

    -AA - & - Norseman -, you both are my foundation, to the voters next!

    - 47th Ward -, I know you get it, was “toasting” with you that 1990s Dillard. Much respect.


  49. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    OW, do you practice your responses in the mirror. You must. I don’t parse. Bookmark them for your use or not. Your hypotheses are warped. Maybe it’s Powerade rather than kool aid good buddy. Can you offer up some new puns. Ugh.


  50. - Mason born - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    Since rauner has the cash. I wonder if he shouldn’t spend some highlighting Quinns willingness to blame public workers. Maybe start another “independent” entity to get message across. While it would be a hard sell to try and get that vote, reminding them of how PQ tried to fix the state budget woes on their backs should suppress the anti-rauner vote. After all Quinns champion of labor badge looks pretty tarnished.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    - A Guy… -,

    Your response … is to go after how respond?

    Strong rebuttal. Impressive. When you get to my actual response, you let me know, ok?

    Maybe… wait for your talking points to arrive, when you try responding on your own, it comes out a tad flat.


  52. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    I wish our primary election was in May or June instead of March. Can I get an Amen?


  53. - Kerfuffle - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    I don’t think that a strong majority of Dems who crossed over in the primary to vote anti-Rauner were ever likely to vote Republican in the general so I don’t see any groundswell to start a Dems for Rauner campaign. Rauner’s problem is going to be with those Republicans who may not flock to a Republican’s for Quinn campaign but who will sit this vote out because they can’t stomach voting for either candidate.


  54. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    Four years ago, the two candidates for governor participated in a Q&A at the IEA’s Representative Assembly in Chicago. They were asked questions by the president of the IEA while the three of them sat in comfortable chairs on the podium. No statements were made by the candidates.

    It was good to hear the candidates answers to what their plans were for K-12 education and other issues. Members who attended shared the information with their fellow teachers, friends, and families. Those who consider themselves Republican realized that there was no way they were going to vote for Brady and encouraged others to vote for Quinn.

    It is my understanding that the IEA hopes to do the same Rauner and Quinn this year as well. This should be good if the IEA can hold their feet to the fire and get some real information on their plans and proposals and not just spew rhetoric and sound bites.


  55. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    @Responsa:

    There was a time when the Illinois Primary was held in June. There was also a time when it was held in April.

    Personally, I envy the Wisconsin voters who have had short election cycles in certain years. The primary takes place in September and the general in November. I think that this is in non-presidential years.

    Seriously, the primary candidates started collecting petitions in September of 2013 for the right to appear on the November, 2014 ballot. That is a long time.


  56. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===I know a lot of teachers union and public retiree Republicans in the burbs. Many working teachers, I’d say 20-30%, aren’t union fans. Promise to free them of that burden and they’ll vote for you.===

    Based on what?

    ***I’ll admit it’s annecdotal based on opersonal experience in education adn my neighbors and friends. You have better info? Please share it.

    ===IMHO, Rauner has to campaign to attract the 40-50% of people who pay the freight in Illinois, then divide the recalcitrant union members and those out of work by appealing that the “right to work” in Illinois would bring them opportunity, work, and fairness.===

    lol!! So that leaves 51-60% of the alienated electorate willing to vote against Rauner! Stay out if the sun in AZ, please.

    *** SOunds like you could use some sun, OW, or at least some math tutoring. 40 to 50%+9% unemployed +0.3*15% gives you 54% to 64% of the vote. Last time I checked that’s enough to win.

    Ok, you sure about all THIS?

    ===There’s a strong track record of success for that sort of policy change.===

    In Illinois? Where the election is, and the voters who look at this are going to decide?

    ***Of course not in Illinois, but just about everywhere else.Interestingly enough, most of the polling I’ve seen shows Illinois values to be center right rather than left. the problem is that we haven’t had anyone able to articulate a center right message and policy plan in a long time. Maybe Rauners that guy.

    ===what I really expect he’ll do is try to reach rank and file union members who aren’t Hoffa like zealots who know change needs to be made.===

    Based on Rauner’s rhetoric and the Primary crossovers and the lunge embracing “union members” you are really just using Cable News “wish points”

    Nope. I walked precincts door to door in the last election, and stopped at all those “Proud Union Home” signed houses. Many are really ticked off at their union for not serving them well, and would like to have more control over whether they have to pay for those clowns.

    ===I’m expecting Rauner to use “gentle persuasion” on these folks to get them on his side.===

    Local 150 jumped when Rauner was persuaded…”Friendly-like”

    ***The re-branding is just starting, OW. I wouldn’t bet against it changing a bit by summer.


  57. - Sangamon GOP - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    It was a highly unusual Republican primary in Sangamon. The local party did a closing endorsement of Dillard. Rauner only came to Sangamon a few times and had no events. There was also a highly contested, and expensive, sheriff’s race on the GOP side. Plus, there were a couple county board races and an unusual judicial race with a GOP candidate that had the support of the Democratic party. The Dems barely had people to run for precinct committeemen this year in their primary, much less anything else. The overall primary turnout was pretty normal, but clearly a bunch of people didn’t take their usual ballot.


  58. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    ===***I’ll admit it’s annecdotal based on opersonal experience in education adn my neighbors and friends. You have better info? Please share it.===

    You made the case. I called you on it, it’s on you, not me.

    ===*** SOunds like you could use some sun, OW, or at least some math tutoring. 40 to 50%+9% unemployed +0.3*15% gives you 54% to 64% of the vote. Last time I checked that’s enough to win.===

    So every unemployed (9%) not only didn’t vote in the Primary so that whole 9% is “New” and will ALL go to Rauner. Yeah, ok, that seems absolutely true! lol

    ===***Of course not in Illinois, but just about everywhere else===

    Everywhere else, is not Illinois.

    === ===I’m expecting Rauner to use “gentle persuasion” on these folks to get them on his side.===

    Local 150 jumped when Rauner was persuaded…”Friendly-like”

    ***The re-branding is just starting, OW. I wouldn’t bet against it changing a bit by summer.===

    Tell that to Local 150.

    Weak sauce, or weak suntan lotion?


  59. - Rod - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Union members will support Quinn, they have a pretty good idea of what is to come if Rauner gets elected.


  60. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    OW, per usual, you hurt my feeling (not plural)Keep that mirror handy. At least one handsome guy agrees with you on everything.


  61. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    - A Guy… -,

    I have been reading around, you are having a real tough day on the Blog.

    Hang in there, those talking points are coming soon.


  62. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    Willy, who don’t we feed?


  63. - steve schnorf - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    Where is the by-God Justice Department? If that approach to the Operating Engineers wasn’t an offer of a quid pro quo, and an extortion attempt, I don’t know what is.


  64. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    - AA -, but he is having a bad day, so I though…

    I know, “Stop thinking…”

    You are the “Tom Hagen” I need, but don’t deserve.


  65. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Arthur, I’m not hungry. Willie, the talking points just arrived. None of them codify your intellectual pearls. I’ll try to keep up with you, but man, it’s hard.


  66. - Walker - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    Rauner thought he had to personally spell out both the punishment if Op Engineers 150 didn’t support him for Governor, and the rewards if they did?

    Those things are best left unsaid, and ambiguous. Let the union Leadership think up their own scenarios. They’re way ahead of Rauner on such things.

    Rauner knows how to handle union leaders about as well as he knows how to handle the Speaker.


  67. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    I work for the Republican party and I am voting Quinn. No way will I our many like me vote for Bruce Rainer. He tried to kill a fly with a 2×4 and only succeeded in destroying his own house. He spent 14 million dollars and only decreased the number of Republicans that actually chose to vote. 1 time cross over votes do count.


  68. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Rauner not Rainer, and do NOT count sorry


  69. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    - Anonymous -,

    Take solace.

    You will not be voting for Raunerite Bruce Rauner, and not voting against your better self, by buying that Bruce Rauner, GOP Nominee is a Republican.

    Sleep well, no snark.


  70. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    Schnorf, as always, you raise an excellent point. Perhaps lack of a complainant is the problem.


  71. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    “Nope. I walked precincts door to door in the last election, and stopped at all those “Proud Union Home” signed houses. Many are really ticked off at their union for not serving them well, and would like to have more control over whether they have to pay for those clowns.”

    Not to cast doubt on you, but there is something contradictory in your statement. There are people out there with “Proud Union Home” signs that want right to work? Why would they be pround union members if they don’t want to have to pay dues?


  72. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:49 pm:

    ==Why would they be pround union members if they don’t want to have to pay dues?==

    I think he means that they are not very happy with the way their dues have been/are being spent by the union leadership. I hear that a lot too.


  73. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    “I think he means that they are not very happy with the way their dues have been/are being spent by the union leadership. I hear that a lot too.”

    If these people have “Proud Union Home” signs in their homes, what are they so proud of, then?


  74. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:19 pm:

    lol Is Willy and a friend now experimenting with “neuro linguistic programming?” You just become more clever with each passing day, don’t you?


  75. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:23 pm:

    -===Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    - AA -, but he is having a bad day, so I though…

    I know, “Stop thinking…”

    You are the “Tom Hagen” I need, but don’t deserve.===
    Wow, the trifecta, OW, WS, AA, Norseman all testifying that I’ve had a bad day. Might be the best day ever. Work with facts and the truth fellas and your memory needn’t be so good. Facts and the truth never change. While I’ve enjoyed the day in your collective heads, I’d like to check out now. The accommodations are more sparse than they’ve been in the past. You’re going after a ghost of Bruce Rauner you’ve invented here yourselves and then selectively looked for evidence to support your preconceived conclusions. He’s an alternative to Pat Quinn. The difference couldn’t be more stark. You don’t like him. Everyone gets it. He’s not fighting for your votes or your support. He wrote that off long ago. There’s a state full of people to appeal to who feel much like he does. He’s finding them. You continue to work on the same group of “No’s”. Good luck with that.


  76. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:36 pm:

    ==If these people have “Proud Union Home” signs in their homes, what are they so proud of, then?==

    Well, you’d have to ask them yourself. But it might have to do with a family union tradition, or the pride they have in their occupations/licenses/certifications, etc? Do you see that it might be possible that they’ve been members -proud to belong to a union- for a long time but are unhappy with some of the leadership and decisions lately? Do you want them to remove the signs?

    I guess it makes sense to me because I see that many of us here are long time, proud members of a particular political party or other and strongly identify with it. But we sure as heck sometimes get angry with the leadership and want there to be changes in policy and the expenditures from our donations.


  77. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    So, the talking points are indeed IN!

    ===Might be the best day ever.===

    When in doubt, channel Blago; “an up day”

    ===Work with facts and the truth fellas and your memory needn’t be so good===

    That’s why it’s easy to refute you. Thanks for noticing!

    ===You’re going after a ghost of Bruce Rauner you’ve invented here yourselves and then selectively looked for evidence to support your preconceived conclusions.===

    I keep reading, you keep playing “victim”, like “Bruce Rauner” does.

    So, talking points;

    Blago. “Up day”, play “victim” with no factual refute…ok…

    === There’s a state full of people to appeal to who feel much like he does. He’s finding them.===

    Raunerites.

    Bruce Rauner is a Raunerite, looking for lemmings to be Raunerites, or go “all in” and spout talking points to be ” Raunerbots. Got it.

    So, play “Up day” Blago card, then become a “victim” with no refutable evidence to take on facts, then close admitting being a Republican is not a Rauner thing, but being a Raunerite is right, exactly right. If Rauner can get more Raunerites to be Raunerbots, than even better!

    Yeah, those talking points don’t make the day better, just sadder to read. Then again, when you dismiss your better self, nothing is surprising from Raunerbot talking points.


  78. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:51 pm:

    Sorry - AA -. Apologies.


  79. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 6:01 pm:

    ===Wow, the trifecta, OW, WS, AA, Norseman all testifying that I’ve had a bad day.===

    I count 4 in your “Tri” fecta.

    Just saying…


  80. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 6:05 pm:

    No apologies required OW. Vito didn’t always listen to Tom lol.


  81. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 6:20 pm:

    A Guy, take a nap or hit the return key every once in a while. You’re really flopping around all over the place.


  82. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 7:44 pm:

    Must admit in retrospect that Dillard’s 11th-Hour Surge was bigger than I expected by a few %, but, have no doubt–it was inDEED, intense Union angst toward BR that brought this last-minute Surge on for Kirk–hence, Brucie-Beware (or since he BOUGHT his GOP Nomination as a former Democrat, perhaps I should say, “Buyer-Beware!), ‘cuz come November, just don’t fantasize now that the Union Membership-Bludgeoning roundly pounded upon YOU ALONE last Tuesday, is just gonna end/disappear somehow…! Think again, pal!!!


  83. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:02 pm:

    I would be remiss…

    Great column, Rich.

    The comments and debate really point to your Spot-On analysis of what happened, and what is going on after the Primary.

    The story of what is happening and how we all got there is helpful in knowing where this all is going to go as we head to November.

    Enjoyed it very much.


  84. - No Sense - Tuesday, Mar 25, 14 @ 8:37 pm:

    Democratic voters declared themselves as Republican’s to help Bruce Rauner to win and that will make Quinn the winner In November.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * Late columnist's spy novel hits silver screen
        * Elgin marijuana dispensary crosses hurdle
        * Epstein explains why Soler was brought to the bigs early

        * Roskam talks tax reform, health care, immi...
        * Roskam hires wounded veteran in West Chica...
        * Inactive Congress Discussed - Alton Daily ...
        * Roskam, Kirk speak to local business owner...
        * Roskam Talks Taxes - Alton Daily News
        * Nadler introduces resolution condemning an...
        * Roskam gives business leaders vision for f...
        * Nadler, Roskam Introduce Bipartisan Resolu...
        * Rep. Nadler, Roskam Introduce Resolution C...
        * Rep. Roskam In Letter to Kerry: Stop Runni...

        * Candidates Speak at Farm Event...
        * Candidates Speak at Farm Event...
        * Candidates Speak at Farm Event...
        * Candidates Speak at Farm Event...
        * Candidates Speak at Farm Event...

        * Group of Senators Call on Latin American P......
        * Council of Jewish Women backs call to prob......

        * IDOT Uses Zombie Video Series To Promote Safe Driving
        * Gay marriage holdouts? Or, where can one get a reliable ride home?
        * Suspect Arrested for Allegedly Setting Fires
        * Ashland Water Main Replacement Project - September Through December
        * Are Cell Phones Safe? The CDC Changes Its Mind
        * Chicago-Area Activists, Families Call On Holder To Investigate Shootings By Local Police
        * Karen Lewis, Chicago Community Groups To Launch New Education Campaign
        * Springfield Council Members To Take Up New Downtown TIF Project
        * CPS: 2014 Graduation Rate Hits A Record High
        * Police shooting protest 1


        * Governor Quinn Proclaims “Jackie Robinson West Championship Day” - Governor Celebrates with Team and Fans at Rally and Parades
        * State Department on Aging Recognizes Caseworkers & Ombudsmen at Adult Protection & Advocacy Conference - Award ceremony concludes the annual conference
        * IDOT, Law Enforcement Crack Down on Drunk Drivers Labor Day Weekend to Avoid Fatal Crashes - Safety Campaign Targets Impaired Drivers; Innovative New Digital Media Campaign Aims to Keep Illinois Motor Vehicle Injuries and Deaths on Decline
        * Eight Illinois Fire Departments Recognized For Their Fire Prevention Efforts - Award Recipients are an Example of Courage and Commitment to Saving Lives
        * Governor Quinn Signs Law to Stop Discrimination Against Pregnant Women in the Workplace - Governor Signs Landmark Legislation on Women’s Equality Day to Guarantee Women the Right to be Both Mothers and Employees




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